Star Wars descended on the Arbutus Public Library in Maryland this past Saturday for an event that promised costumes, crafts, activities and fun. I've posted about these types of events for years now, but my previous job had me working all weekends so I had never had a chance to attend one. In my new real estate venture, I have a lot more flexibility with my schedule. So when my cousin's wife alerted me to the event, I couldn't wait to bring the family for a little GFFA fun.
We (my 3 year old Mason, my 6 year old Landon and my ___ year old wife Michele) arrived promptly at 2:00PM and were ushered into the Arbutus Public Library Meeting Room. We received a paper indicating that we had a number of activities to complete. As you completed each activity, you earned a sticker of accomplishment. The event seemed quite well attended as the room was pretty full of costumed children and parents trying to hide their geeky excitement. Then there were those of us like me and my new friend Chris, whom I happened to meet at the event and is a big fan of TFN and the ForceCast, who didn't bother to hide it. He had his two kids with him as well and a lovely wife who was semi-proudly sporting a Star Wars shirt that Chris no doubt picked out for her. It was cute as our wives said hi to each other and expressed mutual sympathies and appreciation for each others patience with the overgrown children that they refer to as their husbands.
The library staff presented a brief introduction with instructions and from there we were off on our quests. Naturally, our boys headed straight for the lightsaber training station. A staff member allowed the kids to pick from a selection of lightsabers. The kids then had to try to hit a "floating" training remote-like ball; first with their eyes open, and then closed as they channeled The Force.
Next up, was what turned out to be our favorite quest, the scavenger hunt. Various clues were set out around the library but each clue included a question with two choices. Depending on the answer you gave, you were then sent to another location. At the end of the hunt, you found out whether your answers made you a Jedi, Sith, Senator, or Bounty Hunter (if I remember correctly). Thankfully we seem to be instilling nice values on our kids as we turned out to be Jedi.
The Bonnie Burton's Star Wars Crafts Book must have been the inspiration for our next activity as we then found ourselves having a blast while creating our own Admiral Sackbar puppets. I was filled with geeky pride when instead of writing "It's a Trap!" I was able to convince my wife that "Our ships can't repel firepower of that magnitude" was the much better quote for the puppet she made with my son Mason. (I know the quote isn't entirely right but the intent was there!)
Keeping with the craft theme, the kids then made their own Star Wars "action figures" by coloring in some pre-cut-out paper body parts and then taping them together. A variety of combinations were available ranging from Jar Jar to Stormtroopers.
Finally, as kind of an elective craft, there were print-outs with directions on making Clone Trooper snowflakes. Considering how horrible I am with anything that resembles art, I was pleasantly surprised that our snowflake turned out really well.
The 501st and Rebel Legion were out in full force with a variety of costumes that included Vader, a Clone Trooper, a Galactic Marine, an imperial officer, multiple Jedi, a Stormtrooper and a Scout Trooper. As always, members of both organizations were absolutely fantastic with the kids. They signed autographs, posed for tons of photos and did what they could to appease any kids who might have been a little afraid of the larger than life characters.
The event finale featured the kids (Rebel Alliance) squaring off against the adults (Galactic Empire) in a Star Wars trivia contest with members of the 501st and Rebel Legion representing each team. The kids were really into it, as were a number of the parents. As with the entire event, the vibe was lighthearted and simply a lot of fun.
If you have considered going to one of these types of library events, but have yet to do so, please consider this as an enthusiastic endorsement. The event was free, creative, and fun for the whole family. My kids had a great time, I had a great time and my wife was pleasantly surprised with how much fun she had as well. Now that I finally have some flexibility with my weekends, we're very much looking forward to the next local Star Wars event.
Thanks again to the Arbutus Public Library, the 501st and the Rebel Legion for a fun afternoon!